Khlong Toei Market

We stumbled upon this market our first night in Bangkok. It is quite possibly the most massive market I have ever seen. Rows upon rows of every type of ingredient used in asian cooking available. Fish filleted upon like they’re ready to be plattered shashimi style, still breathing, and fish still trying to make their escape from wheeled barrels along the narrow market rows. Whole pigs being butchered on the street…at one point I actually stepped on a pig foot and it took everything in me to stifle my shriek. fresh veggies, pickled veggies, barrels of spices and chilies. Live chickens crammed into crates with freshly killed chicken parts slayed out above them. And don’t forget the bins of frog legs (Is it terrible all I wanted to do was throw salt on them and have a cabaret of dancing frog legs?). This went on for what felt like eternity. I couldn’t fathom where all this food was going and how it stayed so fresh.

This place was absolutely amazing. You could feel the frenzied energy, and yet somehow, there was an order to it all, like everyone knew exactly where they were going, what they were getting, etc. We got a few confused stares from the workers, but I was too busy being fascinated by it all. The familiarity of certain asian vegetables, fruits, and street food reminded me all too much of my mom. And for the first time, I DEARLY missed her and her home cooking. Despite the fact my mom hardly ever cooks thai food, the similarity of ingredients was enough to make me incredibly nostalgic and at the same time, take pride in the fact I knew what all of this stuff was. The unpleasant smells of raw meat, fresh seafood, live poultry, and fermentation reminded me all too much of wandering around chinatown with my mom on the weekends. I laughed when I was thinking about these memories as Nathan quickly rushed past these parts.

I wish I could capture all the sounds and smells of this place for you. It was definitely a trip for the senses. We left the market around midnight I think, and the place was still going strong, if not just getting started. The owner at our hotel told me the market goes on until 4 a.m. And it was a Wednesday night!

Leave a Reply